I received an email from a fellow teacher containing a poem recounting his return trip home from the war –the Vietnam War. He recalled buddies left behind, some he prayed might return one day, others whose flag-draped caskets were the only return they would ever get.
Reading his emotional account of his re-entry into the real-world following his service to his country – my country ---hit me hard on this week of Veteran’s Day.
I was so young during the Vietnam War that I’m not sure what I remember about it and what has actually been planted in my mind from movies and old news footage.
As I grew, I thought the Vietnam War was, like World Wars I and II, simply pages in a history book.
Now, the war-pages of history are still being written.
Daily, we hear of young men and women going off to serve their country.
Last month, when one of my former students left for the Army, this living history became more real for me. I guess I always suspected the war was made up of sons, and daughters, and students, but as long as we can compartmentalize our world here and their world there, we don’t have to put faces on the soldiers.
But of course, they all have faces. They all have positions of importance in someone’s life. And right now they are in a position of uncertainty, serving our country.
Like the Vietnam War of years ago, so much is argued today about the rightness of the war that is currently going on.
But at least one thing that has changed for the better, is perhaps we finally understand that no matter what someone thinks of the war, the soldiers---both young and old--- helping to fight it, deserve our thanks, prayers and praise.
Throughout history, if we have managed to learn anything at all, it is that there would be no land of the free without this being the home of so many of the brave.